Armed robbery of Bitcoin exchange in Ottawa
Crypto crime seems to be all the rage these days, as another instance of armed robbery occurred in Ottawa this week at 11am on Tuesday morning. Employees at a Bitcoin-related financial institution were held up at gunpoint during an altercation which saw one of the workers beaten with a pistol and threatened. The three men involved in the robbery entered the business and gained control over four employees, binding them in the process. A fifth employee managed to contact the police while hiding, leaving the suspects fleeing with no Bitcoin to speak of.
Ottawa police have arrested one suspect but have been unable to nab the other two. The arrested suspect was seen running away from the scene of the crime and was an easy catch for the officers, deploying K-9 unit officers to aid their search. The arrested man, barely an adult at 19 years old, has been charged with five counts of robbery, among other charges. The victims have been described as being shaken, and workers in the area are on edge with one bystander, Dawen Zhang, saying he “probably won’t be able to actually work overnight” due to his unease in reaction to the robbery.
Coinmarketcap.com quietly relists Korean exchanges
Coinmarketcap.com has finally added back the Korean exchanges. They were the center of controversy recently after they de-listed Korean exchanges from the overall market in reaction to the potential cryptocurrency trading ban that they faced. The removal of the Korean exchanges set off a panic selling spree of all currencies across the board. With Coinmarketcap’s re-addition of the exchanges, the total market cap for cryptocurrencies has reverted to its previous levels.
Auditors slip away from Tether
Tether, the US crossover currency which has been pegged to the value of $1 per token, has made the decision to separate from their choice of auditors, Friedman LLP. The decision was made public in a statement issued by one of their company spokespersons on January 27th. Tether came under scrutiny recently by critics and skeptics who do not regard the fiat reserve of the cryptocurrency to be valid. Tether employed the services of Friedman last year to review the legitimacy of its reserves and to analyze the bank balances of Tether alongside the issued and outstanding token balance. They were only enlisted on an interim basis so it is not wholly surprising that they have now gone their separate ways.
The doubters of Tether may view the sudden cancellation of the audit to be further evidence of the inadequacy of Tether, and may lose faith altogether following this announcement. It is a shame that the audit itself was not completed as it would have reassured those with an interest and investment in the currency. The reason for the split is largely unknown but a spokesperson for Tether did go on to say that the “audit would be unattainable in a reasonable time frame” given the incredibly detailed procedures that Friedman was undertaking. Perhaps Tether got impatient? Who knows, the split remains a puzzle.
All Japanese exchanges under scrutiny after CoinCheck hack
Coincheck is the latest cryptocurrency exchange to be hacked after a recent breach in their security. Clients anxiously wait to hear if the exchange has the resources to cover the losses they face. The hack resulted in a loss of up to $534 million worth of NEM tokens. The NEM tokens were stored in a hot wallet without any multi-signature protection which is leading Japanese authorities to investigate the security measures for all Japanese exchanges.
The last time Japan underwent a large-scale cryptocurrency hack was Mt. Gox in 2014. The hack resulted in the disappearance of $460 million as well as another $27.5 million from its bank accounts. The hack later emerged as being more than meets the eye and the CEO was eventually arrested for embezzlement and fraud. Other senior figures are still under investigation.
Facebook bans all crypto advertising
In a move that instigated widespread shock across social media, Facebook has issued a blanket ban on all cryptocurrency-related advertising. The ban includes all cryptocurrencies and ICOs. Their reason for initiating the ban was to protect their users from scams and frauds that have been known to be prevalent as of late.
The effect of this ban so far is unknown and it remains to be seen just how much this will affect the industry. Facebook is only one of many of the main channels that are used to generate traction and hype around an ICO. It’s likely that most of the efforts will move across to the other channels like telegram or twitter.
This move may seem surprising to those who follow Mark Zuckerberg and his comments around cryptocurrency and blockchain. Zuckerberg noted previously that Facebook had been looking at blockchain technology for a future direction and even talked about how they might launch their own currency. Zuckerberg wiping out all competition on his platform is a possibility that is cut-throat, but also ingenious.
Bitcoin prices fall through the floor yet again
Bitcoin has been hovering around the $11,000 mark over the week with some slight hiccups here and there, but was hit by a huge dip today. Bitcoin has now dropped to around the $8000 mark, a value not seen for some time. There is concern that its weak growth is not sufficient to stave off further price corrections and drops. Bitcoin has not been its usual energetic self for a while now and its recovery is something that a lot of people are hedging their bets on. The value of the ‘Gold Standard’ of cryptocurrency is integral to the market as a whole and we hope that it recovers soon.